(image source: Women In Horror Month Press Kit)
In case you weren't aware (or not on Twitter), February is Women in Horror Month aka #WiHM, a joyous occasion dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women in this glorious genre. From authors to filmmakers and other various creators, now is the best time (although any time is the best time, really) to rave about your favourite female and nonbinary horror creators.
Some of these methods will be specific to a certain craft, but a lot of these can be generalised to meet any form of creator. A lot of these methods are free (with a few exceptions) and take up only a little bit of your time.
I also want to note that you have so much more power as a consumer than you think. A single purchase, retweet or recommendation can mean so much not only personally for the creator but even financially and professionally (we need to keep the lights on as well).
WORD OF MOUTH
I, personally, am ten times more likely to check out a book/blog/film that is recommended to me by one of my friends/colleagues (yes, I have some of those surprisingly) over one of the hundreds of books I see in ads every day. If you read/watch something that you like, tell people about it. Whether it be your best friend, your coworker, your neighbour or the monster under your bed. It can mean another sale or more exposure for the creator.
Plus, it always feels nice to be recommended something by someone, it shows that you've taken the time to remember their interests and were considerate enough to recommend something they might enjoy.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Expanding a bit more on the first point, social media is an extremely powerful tool that consumers can use to help promote and spread word about their favourite works. So long story short, follow our platforms, share/retweet our latest projects, mention/tag us, take some atheistically pleasing pictures of our work for Instagram, go nuts.
WRITE / LEAVE REVIEWS
This is an important one.
If you have a blog/platform, reviews are a super effective way to get word out about a creator's work (plus, you get content for your blog). Even if you weren't a fan or have some criticisms, exposure is exposure, feedback is feedback, and it's something creators will appreciate.
You don’t even need a blog, places such as Goodreads and Amazon are also extremely influential in helping your favourite creators. Although Goodreads and other sites are good, Amazon is Prime ;). Amazon currently controls 64% of sales of printed books online and 67% of e-books according to The Guardian, so leaving reviews there will definitely help out, even if its a single sentence. Amazon also favours products with more reviews with the large number of reviews resulting in a higher likelihood of being included in Amazon newsletters and in the 'customers who bought this item also bought' section. So review away!
DRAW FANART / WRITE FANFICTION
I think the power of fanfiction and fanart is still very underestimated. Whether you’re a pro or just doing it for fun, writing some good ol' fanfic or some fanart is a creative way of spreading the word and creating some hype for your favourite book/film.
SEND US SOME LOVE 🖤
This may not help our bottom line but it helps our tired souls. Trying to make it as a creative person is a long and draining process, especially if you're at a social disadvantage thanks your gender/sexuality/race/etc. (that's when awesome initiatives like #WiHM come in). So, a nice comment, review or shout out can really make our day as creators.
I can say from experience that when my depression sinks in and I feel like nothing I write is worth anything, a comment saying that someone enjoyed what I wrote means so much.
BUY OUR STUFF!
(No sh*t, Claire 😂)
Purchasing a creator's books/films/artwork/etc. means that we are able to finance our profession, keep the water running, put food in the fridge and more. Every penny counts and buying our creations are a sure fire way to support us.
Preorders are much more significant than you think. For booksellers and retailers, the amount of preorders is a good indicator of how well the book will sell upon release. Hence, high preorders will most likely lead to high orders from retailers which leads to more sales which leads to more orders from retailers which sells more books annnnnnd you get the picture.
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR'S PUBLISHERS
Especially if they are independent presses/publishers (shout to Clash Books!), the extra love and support helps not only small businesses/publishers but the independent publishing industry in general. Also, shop at bookstores that supply independent authors/publishers. As mentioned previously, you have the power as a commoner. If you can show businesses that customers want more indie press/authors in stock, they'll do it.
DONATE TO CROWDFUNDERS
This one is more for the filmmakers (but perhaps for anthologies and art projects as well). One of the biggest hurdles in filmmaking is funding, every little penny counts which is why so independent filmmakers turn to crowdfunding in order to get their projects off the ground. Even if its a single dollar, it means that the crew is one dollar closer to reaching their goal.
For other creators, Patreon is also helpful with the common $1 pledge an option for those who only want/can to commit to a small amount.
CLAIRE L. SMITH is an Australian author, poet and filmmaker. Her debut gothic horror novella, HELENA is due for release via Clash Books in October 2020.